I have spent much of today (in between teaching) mulling over ideas for my PG Cert project and am beginning to hone my wider ideas down to one specific topic. At the moment this is where I am:
Exploring the impact of chronic and overuse injuries on the psychology of the dancer.
How can dance teachers find a balance between protecting and pushing pupils through injury?
How injury impacts the dance teacher as both an individual and as a practitioner.
How injury changes the psychology of the dancer and how, as teachers, we can help to combat the negative effects of this.
Inclusive practice for the injured dancer.
I’m sure I want to do something around injury and psychology and based on tonight’s reading and the assignment remit I think how this effects either the teacher in their practice or the injured dancer (or both) is a good area to explore to aid inclusive practice – we almost always have at least one dancer ‘sitting out’ due to injury!
I found an interesting article by Krasnow, Kerr and Mainwaring in ‘Medical Problems of Performing Artists’ (1994) which explores the practical and psychosocial barriers which prevent dancers from seeking medical assistance following injury and how some of these barriers can be removed.
“Although the majority of dancers report experiencing pain during or after class, few cease training because of injuries.” 97% of dancers studied (amateur and freelance rather than professionals with access to medical treatment on site) reported having been injured but only 20% reported these injuries. Of the 20% that did report injury, 43% carried on dancing despite doctors’ warnings. (Robson and Gitev, 1991). This makes dancers highly prone to reinjury.
The researchers found the main problems encountered by dancers were: *Not enough medical professionals with training in dance medicine *Long waiting lists for treatment *Most dancers injuries are chronic or due to overuse rather than traumatic so therefore are not seen as an emergency *If a dancer is asked to temporarily stop dancing they appraise this traumatic and ‘impossible’ perhaps due to short careers, fear of deconditioning, losing technique, delay of graduation (university or college students) and pressure from above (teachers, choreographers, companies etc.)
The recommendations Krasnow, Kerr and Mainwaring give at the end of their study are to increase expertise in dance medicine, work on better dialogue between medical professionals and dancers, counselling for dancers, “educate dance teachers and choreographers about their roles in injury prevention, recognition, acceptance and rehabilitation.” Education is also needed for teachers, choreographers and companies to reduce overuse injuries.
Having suffered from an injury for a number of years (5 but only sought treatment 2 years ago) I agree with much of the research study. Perhaps most interestingly for me, however, given the research we have been asked to conduct I think I probably am a teacher (amongst the majority in the dance teaching profession although perhaps this needs investigated too) who, rather than allowing dancers to rest, push too far and teach with a ‘mind over matter’ philosophy. I did it as a child so I expect those I teach to do it too. This leads me to possible research questions in light of ‘what do I want to find out?’ which relate to both my area of interest and the overarching inclusivity agenda.
After two weeks without internet we finally got connected in our new home today! This finally gave me the opportunity to catch up on the online session from the 13th October. I found Rachel’s slides for ‘writing a research proposal’ clear, concise and helpful and together with the sample proposal should provide me with a solid framework for putting together my proposal.
Given all the advice and everything garnered in the last module I know already I am going to focus in some degree on injury and the psychology behind this.
Jamie asked us to fill in a self-assessment of where we are in the Context and Culture module to date and what we need in order to achieve the module aims and outcomes. Attached is what I filled in:
We celebrated #WorldBalletDay in school today by focussing on tendus and plies.
I shared some of these thoughts with my class: https://brilliantdance.wordpress.com/2011/06/24/why-the-demi-plie-is-the-most-important-movement-in-ballet/ and then we focussed on turnout, making sure knees are over toes and building strength in the legs and core to sustain full plies. This lead us to some focus on balance!
Tendus too provide a foundation for all dance and we spent time working on fully stretching our feet. As dancers and dance teachers it is easy to assume that all children know how to pointe their feet but I have found over the years that this is not the case. Just as you would teach spelling in English, or times tables in maths we must teach children how to fully stretch their feet.